The Speculist: FastForward Radio


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FastForward Radio

Sunday night Stephen Gordon and P.J. Manney interviewed artificial intelligence researcher and author Ben Goertzel.


They asked Ben about the current state-of-the-art in AGI and about the recent AGI conference at Memphis University. They also learned how AI is already changing our world.

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The topics:

  • Phil was out this week because he was moving. He'll return to the show next week.

  • Stephen and PJ played part of an interview of Hugo de Garis at the AGI conference. Hugo's working on an AGI project in China.

  • Stephen was so excited to get started with the interview that he failed to introduce Ben Goertzel properly.

    Dr. Ben Goertzel is the CEO/CSO of Novemente LLC. He's been working 20+ yrs in AI R&D and commercialization. He is a former CTO of 120+ employee, thinking machine company, Webmind. He earned his PhD in mathematics from Temple University. He has held several university positions in mathematics, computer science, and psychology in the US, New Zealand and Australia. He is the author of 70+ research papers, journalistic articles, and eight scholarly books dealing with topics in cognitive sciences and futurism.

    He is the principle architect of the Novamente Cognition Engine. And he is the Director of Research for the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

    He came to us fresh off the first annual AGI conference at the University of Memphis which he was instrumental in organizing.

  • The importance of Friendly AI.

  • Goertzel believes that empathy involves the ability to simulate other minds. His thought is that if an AI is given the capacity to do this that is greater-than-human, then it will be more empathetic-than-human - a super friendly AI.

  • Goertzel wisely refrained from making any absolute predictions on the arrival of human-level AGI. He did state that if the field had unlimited money he wouldn't be surprised if it could be done in 5 years. With limited funding it might take 20 years.

  • If you haven't seen it, don't miss the 2001 BBC documentary Predicting AI's Future.

Our front bumper is a sample of Marginal Prophets' "The Difficult Song."

Our exit music this week is from Cavedoll. The song is "Mexico."

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We love audience participation. If you'd like to call in to the show, or get in on the FastForward Radio text chat, listen live! FastForward Radio goes live again next Sunday night:

10:00 Eastern/9:00 Central/8:00 Mountain/7:00 Pacific.

Get all the details at Blog Talk Radio. While there, check out the past shows in the archive.

Email your comments, questions, suggestions, corrections, praise, or criticism:


Great show. Fascinating guest, really good hosts, interesting callers.

(Almost makes me think I shouldn't come back!)

I felt the same after that great show with Robert Zubrin.

It's good that we have some talented folks that will fill in when one of us is out.

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